Why Writing Short Stories Help You

I didn’t start to appreciate writing short stories until fairly recently. I always viewed short stories as something “quick and easy” to write. Of course, they’re not easy to write at all. Just because they can be 5,000 words as opposed to 50,000 words doesn’t mean it’s faster or easier. Another thing I thought was that writing novels was “better” for your writing. I figured the more I write, the more I would improve. Writing one long story isn’t the only way to “write more” though.

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Short Stories Help You Tighten Your Words

One great thing about short stories is that it helps you learn how to tighten your words. It’s easy to ramble and to describe something that doesn’t matter. Especially if you’re just trying to get the words down, it’s super easy to get excited about quantity over quality. Writing short stories allows you to recognize what isn’t necessarily needed in your story. Instead of writing paragraph upon paragraph about once certain thing, you’ll soon learn how to cut that down to the bare minimum needed so that you can stay in that short story word count range.

Short Stories Help You With Self-Editing

Similar to tightening your words, short stories help with self-editing in the way that you learn what to edit out when it comes to trying to shorten that length. Personally, when I self-edit my novels I sometimes tend to think everything has to be there. I either think it’s too funny, clever, important, whatever. The truth is, it’s usually not and can be cut out completely. Or it can stay but I can write it in a way that cuts out a good chunk of words.

Short Stories Help You With Plotting

When it comes to writing a novel it’s easy to get carried away with the plot. I know it can be for me. I tend to come up with more and more ideas as I write and eventually decide to have a hundred sequels to whatever I’m writing. Short stories allow me to say what needs to be said and no more. There are no sequels, there are no second parts (well, sometimes there are if we’re talking about my Short Story Sundays), it’s just one full circle with my characters with a beginning, middle, and end squished together.

Overall, I’ve definitely found a new appreciation for writing short stories. I’ve been enjoying them a lot more than I thought I would and I’ve been learning a lot and improving on my writing in the meantime.

Do you write short stories? What does that type of writing help you with? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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20 thoughts on “Why Writing Short Stories Help You

  1. They also help get your name around if you’re contributing to anthologies. I find myself doing that more often recently, usually for charity anthologies because the motivation has been to support those charities, but I couldn’t help noticing that my ‘credits’ on Amazon are stacking up.

  2. I so agree with you on all of these points. Writing short stories makes you a better writer. I find them more difficult than writing a novel but every time I finish one, I feel so good.

  3. Yes, yes, yes. I write a piece of flash fiction every day. The piece is normally in the 100-250 word range and I edit, edit, edit. I often spend longer on editing than the actual writing. Talk about a challenge. Then I move to whatever short story I am writing. I like to believe my daily exercises are helping. Great post, Rachel.

  4. I have been writing flash fiction pieces and slowly lengthening them as the mood takes me into short stories. I feel so free being able to write something short without having to turn it into something greater.

  5. A smashing article highlighting the benefits of writing short stories, Rachel. As somebody who writes them a lot, they’ve certainly helped me improve my writing. In fact, when faced when a maximum word count, it really pushes the best out of me (or so I’ve been told).

    • It’s true. The more limited the words, the better your creativity gets because you’ve got to think outside the box. Then there’s the editing, lol.

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